Category Archives: Plant of the Month

Southwest Plant of the Month – Cane Cholla – Opuntia imbricata

Plant Form: Shrub Plant Size: 8’ x 5’ Plant Type: Evergreen Water: Low Sunlight: Full Sun Flower Colors: Purple, red Physical Description: Mass of leafless, succulent, intricately branched stems covered with sharp spines. Large waxy petaled, reddish-purple flowers followed by persistent yellow fruit. Care and Maintenance: Formidable barbed spines and irritating glochids on stems. Cochineal bugs and stem borers. Safe disposal of pruned or dead stems difficult. Gardener’s notes: Tree-like when mature. Dried stem skeleton used for canes. West Texas/New Mexico native replaced westward by similar…

Read More »

Southwest Plant of the Month – Butterfly Weed – Asclepias tuberosa

Plant Form: Flower Plant Size: 2’ X 2’ Plant Type: Perennial Water: Low Sunlight: Sun, Partial Shade Colors: Orange, Yellow Physical Description: Brilliantly colored, 3″ clusters of orange to yellow flowers favored by butterflies, atop thick erect stems with narrow gray-green leaves. Milky sap. Care and Maintenance: Very difficult to transplant. Re-sprouts late in spring. Aphids. Gardener’s notes: Deep taproot promotes drought tolerance. Cultivars available with bi-color flowers in shades of cream and red. Southwest Plant of the Month material courtesy of NMSU ACES http://desertblooms.nmsu.edu/plantadvisor/

Read More »

Southwest Plant of the Month – Bush Lantana – Lantana camara

Plant Form: Flower Plant Size: 4’ x 6’ Plant Type: Perennial Water: Low Sunlight: Sun, partial shade Colors: Orange, pink, white, yellow Physical description: Woody, shrubby, spreading plant with rough, green, aromatic leaves and small, thorny prickles on stems. Flat clusters of small flowers, cream to yellow as young blossoms in cluster center, turning bright pink to orange when mature along outer margin of cluster. Blooms late spring to fall. Care and maintenance: Aromatic foliage offensive to some. Dies to ground in winter leaving prickly,…

Read More »

Southwest Plant of the Month – Buffalograss – Buchloe dactyloide

Plant Form: Turfgrass Plant Size: 6” x varies Plant Type: Warm season Water: Low Sunlight: Sun Physical description: Soft, fine, gray-green foliage turning straw color after frost. Sod forming, spreading by rooting stolons. Care and maintenance: Needs reliable summer moisture to remain green or will go dormant and turn brown. Invasive Bermuda grass can be a weed problem. Does not like sandy soil, preferring heavier loam or clay soil. Gardener’s notes: Best if infrequently mowed. Good for naturalizing and wildflower meadows. Reseeds well. Native to…

Read More »

Southwest Plant of the Month – Brownfoot – Acourtia wrightii (Perezia wrightii)

Plant Form:  Flower Plant Size:  4′ x 3′ Plant Type:  Perennial Water:  Low Sunlight:  Sun, Partial Shade Colors:  Pink, Red Physical Description: Two or three successive, spring to fall displays of showy flat clusters of rose to pale pink flowers on long leafy stalks lined with handsome grayish-green holly-like foliage. After the fluffy seed heads disperse, the stems coarsen and die back to the ground while new stalks are emerging as replacements. Gardener’s notes: Spreads very slowly by rhizomes. Although seldom commercially available, this El…

Read More »

Southwest Plant of the Month – Brown-eyed Susan – Rudbeckia hirta

Scientific name: Rudbeckia hirta Order: Asterales Kingdom: Plantae Family: Asteraceae Rank: Species Plant form: Flower Plant Size:  2’x1’ Plant Type: Flower Perennial Water Usage: Low Sunlight: Sun/Part Sun Colors: Yellow Physical Description: Large 2-3″, yellow, sunflower-like blossoms with brown centers, in summer, on long stems rising from clumps of dark green leaves. Care and Maintenance: Short lived. Coarse, rough textured foliage. Gardener’s notes: Removal of spent flowers and extra water will keep foliage dense and flowers blooming. Native of northern New Mexico. SOURCE: Southwest Plant…

Read More »

Southwest Plant of the Month – Broom Dalea – Psorothamnus scenarios

Plant Form – Shrub Plant Type – Semi-evergreen Sunlight – Sun Plant Size – 3’ x 4’ Water Usage – Low Colors – Black, purple Physical Description: Large mounds of intricately branching gray to blue-green, almost leafless stems with profusion of late summer, small, indigo-blue to purple pea-like flowers. Care and Maintenance: Must have deep, loose, well-draining, sandy soil. Very difficult to transplant once established. Not readily available. Gardener’s notes: Excellent for naturalizing sand dune areas. Plant from seed. Native to El Paso’s sand hills.…

Read More »

Southwest Plant of the Month – Blue Trumpets – Ipomopsis longiflora

Plant Form: Flower Plant Type: Annual Sunlight: Sun Plant Size: 18″ x 12″ Water Usage: Low Colors: Blue, White Physical Description:  Pale blue to almost white, long trumpet-like flowers on intricately branching stems and finely dissected foliage. Care and Maintenance:  Avoid overwatering/poor drainage.  Gardener’s notes:  Loves hot, dry, deep sandy soil. Occasional summer supplemental water will prolong blooming into fall. Found in sandy areas of El Paso. Grow from collected seed. Southwest Plant of the Month material courtesy of NMSU ACES – http://desertblooms.nmsu.edu/plantadvisor/

Read More »

Southwest Plant of the Month – Hill Country Penstemon – Penstemon triflorus

General Information Plant Form Flower Plant Size 2′ x 1′ Plant Type Perennial Water Usage Low Sunlight Sun, Partial Shade Colors Red Physical Description:  Small bushy stature with multiple, short flowering stems just rising over the compact mass of dark green leaves, carrying a number of slightly fuzzy cherry-red, 2′ long flowers. Care and Maintenance:  Remove spent stems to maintain compact bushy appearance.  Needs well draining soil.  Gardener’s notes:  This central Texas native is well adapted to El Paso’s dry limestone soils. Another eastern Texas species, P. tenuis, requires…

Read More »

Southwest Plant of the Month – Blue Star – Amsonia spp.

Plant Form: Flower Plant Size : 2′ x 1′ Plant Type : Perennial Water Usage: Low Sunlight: Sun, Partial Shade Colors: Blue, White Physical Description:  Mounds of willowy leaves and wiry stems topped  by star-shaped, white to light blue flowers in spring.  Can spread by root stolons. Care and Maintenance:  Avoid overwatering. Dies back to hardy roots in  winter. Difficult to locate seed or plant source. Gardener’s notes:  Several attractive native species,  including A. longiflora, A. palmeri, A. ciliata and sand-loving A. arenaria. Southwest Plant…

Read More »